Dolphin Jumps in Boat and Breaks Woman's Ankle's
Watch those friendly dolphins!
For a few moments, it was pure bliss as dolphins swam alongside the Frickman family's small boat, leaping toward the sky and doing flips.
The Frickman family had been enjoying a sunny afternoon June 21 – the first day of summer, Father's Day and also Dirk and Chrissie Frickman's 18th wedding anniversary – when they came across the pod of dolphins as they were heading back to the Dana Point Harbor.
Tristan, 12, and Courtney, 16, edged toward the bow of the 21-foot Boston Whaler as the dolphins swam along their boat. The entire family was cheering.
That's when the pleasant afternoon turned to pure chaos. A dolphin leaped out of the water, hit the rail of their boat and flopped right inside with the family.
At first, it might have resembled a wacky Sea World trick, or a fun Flipper moment. But it got messy. Bloody, scary and messy.
"It hit my wife and knocked her over, and punched my daughter," Dirk Frickman recalled. "Luckily, no one got knocked out of the boat."
"I had this 350-pound dolphin in my boat," Frickman said. "There was no way to get it off the boat."
His first thought: This is not going to be good.
Chrissie Frickman was screaming in pain as the dolphin flopped on her legs. Her husband pulled her out from beneath it, and the family scurried around the center console toward the bow as the gravity of the boat pulled the frantic dolphin toward the back.
Dirk Frickman called the Orange County Sheriff's Department Harbor Patrol on the radio. He told them he was coming in fast and to look for his boat at the mouth of the harbor.
The officer "came zipping out," Frickman said. " He looked at the boat and said, 'Oh, my God. I've never seen this before.'"
They got Chrissie and Courtney onto the Harbor Patrol boat that would transport them to the dock, where an ambulance was headed. But they still had the dolphin to contend with.
Harbor Patrol Deputy Damian Crowson gave Dirk Frickman a bucket of water to splash on the creature to try to keep it alive.
"I was letting go of the wheel every 30 seconds to a minute and slowing down and pouring water on her," Frickman said.
The dolphin thrashed around, splashing blood from cuts on its tail and nose. Blood was everywhere, Frickman recalled. "I could hear my phone buzzing and beeping on the floor – it was covered in blood," he recalled.
He pulled his boat up to the bait dock, where two workers looked at him and the dolphin and asked "What are we going to do with this thing?"
They got the boat on the dock and took out the chairs to get a rope around the dolphin. They pulled the mammal up to the dock, removed the rope and released it into the water.
"The dolphin was hopefully saved," Frickman said. "It swam away with no problem."
Chrissie Frickman, however, is still recovering. She spent five hours in the emergency room being treated for two broken ankles, one with a clean break that hopefully will not require a plate or pins to heal properly, the other with torn ligaments surrounding the break.
Dirk Frickman, owner of of DSC security alarms, has had to rearrange his work schedule to care for her. He gets quite a reaction when he tells customers his story.
"It's totally bizarre; no one believes it," he said.
Harbor Patrol Sgt. DJ Haldeman, who confirmed the incident, said he's heard of sea lions jumping onto boats, but not dolphins.
"I don't know what was in the water, but something must have scared it out," Haldeman said.
Frickman said his family will take away a valuable lesson from the "absolutely crazy" incident.
"It's one of those things where it's all so beautiful, but you have to remember it's still kind of wild," he said. "From seven years watching them, dolphins have been so precise in their movements, but you just never know.
"Maybe you want to stay a bit farther away."
Published with permission by Laylan Connelly
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